“The same PF Sata single-handedly created may eat him”

President Sata

President Sata

By Chumbu Kandolo

Renowned satirist and media practioner Roy Clarke has a very candid way of looking at the state of affairs in Zambia’s ruling party—the Patriotic Front (PF) —and the country as a whole.

“The problem with the country being ruled by a one-man party is that when the one man falls apart, the country falls apart,” he tweeted recently.

“Maybe [Micheal] Sata reached his zenith as Minister of Health. Trying to proceed to the presidency was a bridge too far.”

Clarke’s view of the situation is a carbon copy of what many honest people feel, including those in PF.

“By the look of Michael’s speech today [yesterday], written for him and read badly, it seems he doesn’t know what’s going on and has lost control,” Clarke again tweeted yesterday.

For a fact, president Sata, the person who holds the key in this matter, neither seems to a clue, magnanimity nor the steel balls to conclusively deal with the PF intra-party succession wrangling that is threatening the very existence of this country.

From the time the Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) and Wynter Kabimba succession tussle reached its crescendo when Sata was out representing this country at the UN general assembly in New York a fortnight ago, many people had been waiting for him to return and crack the whip in whichever direction.

Yet his first public speech yesterday vaguely sounded far from putting a full-stop on this matter. How frustrating from those watching from afar or indeed from inside PF.

“The public squabbles we have witnessed in the recent past must end and end immediately. I have publicly stated that I am not desperate for endorsement and while I thank the rank and file for the expression of confidence and affection, I must ask all our most ardent supporters to desist from the temptation of endorsement campaign which well-intentioned as they have the effect of causing me embarrassment,” Sata said at State House on yesterday, as if throwing a jab at GBM.

Zambians in this case do not want jabs but a killer punch; either aimed at GBM or Kabimba!

Yes, the President could be right but the issue of the endorsement is no longer as topical as demands to have his your own secretary general Wynter Kabimba replaced.

The rank and file of the PF do not want Kabimba but he (Wynter) keeps on insisting that he wants to lead these disillusioned and moribund folks. Kabimba claims those fighting him are funded by a corrupt and tribal clique within PF.

This is where Sata needs to come out very categorical and clearly state whether he wants Kabimba to continue or bow down to the demands of what seem to be the majority in PF.

Truth be told, the biggest liability in this matter is Sata himself. He has been blowing hot and cold at the same time.

It’s this attitude that is giving credence to reports that Sata apparently, prior to the 2011 elections, entered a deal to surrender the presidency to Kabimba. So he hasn’t the guts to fire him.

On the other side, the GBM camp feels they are loyal disciples who stood by Sata’s side at the time people like Fred M’membe where in bed with late president Levy Mwanawasa and mercilessly fired salvos at Sata when he was in the opposition.

Even in his speech at State House yesterday, Sata was again antagonising himself while seemingly throwing another jab at Kabimba who many members accuse of forming parallel structures within the PF.

“Let me warn those who have been establishing pararell structures to promote their peculiar agenda to stop confusing the party. It is these machinations which are grounded in malice and dishonesty that have stoked reactions from other members who feel such actions have potential to weaken the cohesion of the party.”

In both quotes above, again Sata can only blame himself. He is the same person who last month admonished GBM on the endorsement issue yet the following day, publicly introduced Robert Chikwelete of the GBM camp as the Lusaka district chairman!

He effectively replaced Goodson Banda from the Kabimba camp in that position yet the PF secretary general and vice president Guy Scott still recognize Banda as the district chairman todate.

So the question is who really is the Lusaka district chairman or will Kabimba continue as the secretary general of PF?

The moment Sata openly starts answering such questions, without the fear of reprisals from either the GBM or Kabimba camp, the better for him, the PF and the country. Or let him launder himself by allowing a vote of the PF central committee to determine Kabimba and GBM’s fate.

In the meantime, confusion and despondence has penetrated every key sector of this country.

Nurses and council workers are on strike, the country’s economic imbalanced fundamentals speak of a bleak future, there is government-created acrimony around the Bemba royal clan while the issue of the Barotseland remains unresolved.

There does not seem to be an answer in sight for all these issues as the PF in-fighting takes centre stage.

When it comes to the PF succession, it’s worse. President Sata keeps on postponing the problem. In so doing, compounding it. Those diametrically opposed in this succession dispute in PF are maiming one another. Soon, lives will be lost.

The same PF Sata single-handedly created and gave him the presidency may eat him up to his grave.

This country risks being on fire. If that were to happen, no other person than Sata himself will bear the blunt.

Poverty levels are sky-rocketing as PF cadres have become too powerful leaving the masses disheartened, frightened and regretting having voted for the ruling party.

How sad it is that this is the same party that stood on a populist platform and promised heaven on earth only to subdue basic rights and freedoms of its people who are now vanquished with only two years of PF’s misrule.

It may be hard sometimes to understand why Clarke, a former Post columnist, would now take to social media to express himself in such a manner. The truth is no traditional media in the current Zambia can accommodate his views. The truth is these are anxious moments for Zambia.

“Should Sata fire his entire cabinet and appoint a completely new set of people? Or declare a new election to find better people?,” Clarke tweeted further, adding, “Sata should solve the PF internal problems by appointing Kabimba as our ambassador to North Korea.”

This may sound like a joke but Clarke sentiments represent a troubled mind, an ordinary Zambian’s mind.

Despite Zambians having waited with a bated breath to listen to Sata’s first pronouncement on the wrangles dogging PF, all he did yesterday was to keep the country on its tenterhooks.

Regrettably, Sata has continued to behave like a heavily sexually compromised polygamous man who is faced with a critical decision to make; to divorce one of his spouses—GBM or Kabimba in this case.

Instead, he first publicly rebukes each one of them in equal measure while privately wanting to sleep with each of them in equal proportions. The suspense and intrigue continues.